Are you really allergic to Penicillin?

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It is very common for people to be labeled with a penicillin allergy at some point during their lives, though many times not because of a true allergic reaction. Often times the rash or hives were actually due to the viral infection or your symptoms were not consistent with penicillin sensitivity. Even if someone truly experienced a reaction to penicillin in the past, they often outgrow the sensitivity in as early as 10 years. You may ask, “Who cares doc? They can just give me something else can’t they?” Here are the issues with this and why you should request an appointment for penicillin testing to see if you are truly allergic:

  • When patients are labeled with a penicillin allergy, this usually makes most doctors avoid BOTH penicillins and cephalosporins since they are somewhat related. That’s two whole classes of very effective drugs that are eliminated right off the bat.
  • Penicillins and cephalosporins are extremely effective and inexpensive. If these cannot be used, then alternative antibiotics often have to be given which usually are much more expensive and, unfortunately, not always as effective.
  • The alternatives to penicillins and cephalosporins are notorious for having severe side effects. The diagram below outlines the most important side effects of most antibiotics (as you can see, penicillins and cephalosporins are not even listed, more proof of just how much safer they are).

Hopefully this has been an informative explanation of why removing incorrect or outdated penicillin allergies from your health record are important. We routinely test 3-4 patients a week for penicillin allergy, so call and make your appointment today!

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Windom Allergy, Asthma & Sinus
Food Allergy Center of Florida